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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Music Video Wednesday - The Return of the Giant Gabriel

I haven't done a Music Video Wednesday in a long time.  So without any further fanfare today marks its return and today I offer a two-fer. 

This artist just celebrated his birthday last week and I had the pleasure in seeing him a few years ago at the Jones Beach Theatre.  He's a pioneer in recording techniques and his music videos have always been creative.  Enjoy these 2 offerings from Peter Gabriel.

The first is Come Talk to Me taken from his Secret World Live tour and the second song is I Don't Remember from my favorite of his solo albums - Peter Gabriel 3 aka - Melt.



Brian Williams and his Faulty Memory: A PR Nightmare

One bright spot over the last several years for Comcast-Universal's network NBC has been its strength in news.  Brian Williams, who took over from Tom Brokaw in 2004, is the current anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News.  Last week reports came out questioning stories he has told over the past ten years of his helicopter taking RPG and AK47 fire while reporting in Iraq during the invasion in 2003.  He issued an apology on the broadcast on February 4, 2015 stating he “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.” He also offered his respect and apology to the "brave men and women in the air crews who were also in the desert." 

This apology only opened the door wider in examining Mr. Williams' reporting over the years.  His reporting in New Orleans is under doubt, especially his claim that he saw a body, face down, floating by his hotel's balcony.  Recent reports now question his report of being under fire by rockets in Israel.  Finally, reports a PageSix report casting doubt his claim that he was mugged selling Christmas trees in the 1970's.

This weekend Williams released a statement:

In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions.

As Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.

Not much of an apology.  So far, if all of these allegations are true, then his career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in (him) us should be considered a failure.  I always found his self-promotion, whether he be a guest on The Tonight Show or on Letterman's show, or playing himself on 30 Rock to name a few non-news appearances a bit disconcerting.  The anchor of any network must follow the model of the greats: Cronkite and Brinkley. 

The news in 2015, especially the reporting at the national and international level, needs to be free from the celebrity filled drivel commonly found on the local broadcasts throughout the country.  The public airwaves demand that Mr. Williams report the news in a credible manner.  This can be done without him having to become part of all the high profile stories he reports.  This viewer finds that quality lacking and I believe he needs more than "several days" to sort this all out instead of hoping to let the heat die down which came across to me as something he wants to do in his statement. 

We'll see how this sorts out. 

The Lie

After the Lie

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Brian, John, and David...Oh My.

This has been quite the week for the media.  In Broadcast Journalism, NBC's Brian Williams was given a 6 month suspension from hosting that network's Nightly News.  This was a swift response from his superiors due to allegations he "embellished" his account of being hit with enemy fire while reporting on the Iraq War in 2003. 

For some background read my blogpost titled Brian William's and his Faulty Memory: A PR Nightmare - See more at:

I applaud NBC's quick response and sincerely hope that Mr. Williams stay far, far away from the anchor chair.  His desire to integrate himself into the entertainment side of the network moved far beyond the point of promotion in my opinion. 

On the same day this news was announced, Comedy Central cable network was informed that The Daily Show host, John Stewart would be stepping down.  As I understand, The Daily Show is a parody of the news/political pundit shows.  It appeals to a demographic slightly younger than me and Stewart has hosted the show for over 10 years. 

I have never seen this show so I'm not sure why there was so much hoopla about this news.  Parody shows have been around for my lifetime and there has always been some satire of the news.  I remember enjoying HBO's "Not Necessarily the News" in the 80's.  I'm not sure what the appeal of The Daily Show was that it attracted political figures to it. 

The Daily Show and its success with a younger demographic may have been seen by the major networks as a model for it's own change over the years. 

Over the last 15 to 20 years there has been a steady and creeping emphasis on entertainment in all areas of public life.  This has been very noticeable, to me, in all forms of the news business.  This includes the garbage printed in the local paper and reported on the television news.  Combine that with the overall consolidation in the media and what's left is a public that's dumbed down, complacent and misinformed.

During this time, the growth of the Internet and bloggers and social media has been seen as a challenger to local and national news media.  David Carr, who died on Thursday, was a "media commentator" who reported on all of these changes and challenges to the "Traditional Media."  The outpouring of sadness at his passing was no surprise to me.  Not only was a member of the newspaper of the establishment, he also had a professional stake in the Times' response to the new media landscape.  I had first became aware of him while seeing him on Charlie Rose's show a few years back as he was promoting a documentary called Page1.  In the documentary Carr discussed all the changes to the newspaper business and the challenges The New York Times faces from bloggers and events like the WikiLeaks document releases which was happening at the time.

Carr had quite a history he wrote a book, The Night of the Gun, which dealt with his drug history and brush with the law.  At 58 years of age, he was far too young to pass, however in the pictures I've seen of him recently he did look sick.  May he rest in peace. 

What a week for those who enjoy following the media.  My wish is that the corporations that control the news pull back, just some, and try to reduce the emphasis on entertainment and look to report the news and truly inform the public.  Is it too far gone for that?